Daimler AG has taken up a 10% stake worth US$50 million in electric car maker Tesla Motors, a move that depends their already pre-existing relationship where Tesla would equip 1,000 Smart cars with their electric motor and battery technology. According to Daimler chairman and Mercedes-Benz head Dieter Zetsche, Daimler wanted more than a supplier-customer relationship with Tesla.
“We are in a time of change. This industry is going through a kind of paradigm shift, and has to reinvent itself ultimately to be independent of petroleum and without CO2 emissions. We need fast technology change,” said Zetsche, and it seems that he sees Tesla’s technology as a way to achieve that fast technology change.
Of course this is a big score for the electric car camp. Any big manufacturers who votes yes for electric cars will steer the industry more towards electric motors and batteries instead of fuel cell cars or extended range hybrids as the defacto method of car propulsion in the future. Daimler has also invested in German battery company Li-Tec, and founded a battery production JV with Evonik Industries. These might end up supplying batteries for both Tesla and Daimler electric cars.
This could also mean Mercedes-Benz platforms could be used for future Tesla like a replacement for the Model S (shown above) in the future, but then again with the versatility in packaging with an electric car, a platform designed for a combustion engine might not be the completely optimal solution.
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